Thursday, August 23, 2012

What makes me smile.

Recently I felt like I was taking my amazing life for granted... so to give myself a little lesson on gratuity I have been reading Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. It is a great book that offers ideas to simplify with gratitude, harmony, serenity and happiness.

One of the things I have been doing faithfully is writing down 5 things every day that make me smile. So when I saw a writing prompt for Mama Kat's writer's workshop that said, "Aside from your kids, pets, your husband, your coffee and your wine…what makes you smile?" I knew that I could join in and contribute.

Here, in no particular order, are some days from my journal which note things that made me smile on that particular day:

• Gorgeous clouds

• Music
• Wind Coming through rolled down windows. 
• Unsolicited thank you from Ariana for her day
• Smell of sheets as I pulled them off the line where they had been for 2 days. 

• Perfect sunny weather
• Big, wonderful smile
• Yummy fresh breakfast fruit
• Ocean views
• Kisses
• Friends hanging out and helping out

• Unsolicited climbing into my lap to cuddle by Acadia on a sunny morning
• Friends who help in time of need
• Cold pizza when I am starving
• My brick schoolhouse

• The beauty of a butterfly fluttering by
• Birds chirping
• The breeze on my skin
• A job that allows me amazing freedom
• Beautiful day to trim grass and weed gardens.

• Waking up to sunlight coming through skylight on my face. 
• Chocolate chip cookies
• Coworkers that make me laugh and love going to work
• Being told I am beautiful

• Listening to Ariana play piano. 
• Older gentleman at gas pump next to me whistling away. 
• Drive through the gorgeous mountains of NH
• Sitting on the deck enjoying the cool night
• Fire pit in the back yard for cool summer nights

• Squeals Of delight as I take Acadia down the water slide
• Hanging out with friend having girl talk as our kids enjoy water park
• Breeze through the windows as I lay on the couch
• Acadia saying as we climbed the water slide, "Jeez, these are a lot of stairs, they should have an elevator."
• Hearing Grateful Dead and Phish while getting a beer with a friend. 

These are just a few days in my life... how could I not smile? I highly recommend Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. I think everybody needs a bit of perspective once in awhile and we all could take a moment to smile.

Oh, and go visit Kat to see what is making other people smile:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, August 20, 2012

30 Tips to Live Simply: #3

Catch up with my Live Simply project here.

Tip #3 is quite easy... maybe. Move along to your book shelf (shelves???). How many of us are holding on to books simply for the memories, the nostalgia... the idea that people that have shelves full of books seem more worldly, educated, cultured?

Many of us now read via digital media, so having hundreds of books on hand is useless, overwhelming and just creating more items that need dusting that will never move off said shelf.

I do have books with sentimental value that I will keep and pass along to my children or friends who need inspiration... but otherwise, there are many that are just taking up space in my house and mind.

Simply go to your bookshelf today and remove 5 books. There are definitely 5 on that shelf that you have either never read, will never read again or were not that great to start with. You can make yourself feel better about this purge by donating to your local library, homeless shelter... etc. There are always people out there that can still make use of old fashioned books.

Here are also 25 other great places to donate stuff during our simplifying project.

A next step for this project? Set forth to actually purge a larger portion of your books. I bet everyone could get rid of at least 25% of the books in their house and never miss them. I know I did.

Simplify tip #1 here.
Simplify tip #2 here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

30 Simple Tips to Live Simply: #2

Catch up to my Simple Tips to Living Simply introduction here.

And now, tip #2:

Vehicle Declutter
Get up, get a grocery bag, go out to your car and remove five things. I say grab the grocery bag because if your car is anything like mine with 3 kids, your five things will definitely be plain old trash. 

How do you feel after that couple of times per year when you have cleaned out your car? I am betting you breathe a huge sigh of relief when you open the door to a clutter free vehicle. And it is fairly easy to keep some semblance of order with 2 tricks: 

#1 Keep a trash bag in the car! There are super cute ones on Etsy or they can be purchased at any department store and can be hung nearly anywhere in the car, accessible to all people in the car. This keeps a lot of clutter and trash at bay.
#2 Every single time you exit the car, bring at least one thing in with you and ask all passengers to do the same. This will eliminate a lot of stuff being left behind and piling up in the vehicle where you end up with an overwhelming mess.

Next step? Go for the gusto and completely clean your car. Trunk, glove compartment (does anyone keep gloves in there???), vacuum... etc.

Go ahead... what are you waiting for???? Here is what I came up with:  
A bag of random stuffed animals, a few books... and that butterfly bag is my actual trash bag that I brought in to be emptied. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

30 Simple Tips to Live Simply: #1

I had a few conversations during my Blogher trip over the weekend regarding a subject close to my heart: living simply. I actually have conversations regarding the topic often in my life whether someone spies my tattoo or I use my innate tact to tell someone, "Wow, you have a lot of crap."

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."  ~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

I really should not let someone else's unnecessary affect me... but it does. If I walk into a house cluttered with things, my anxiety rises. If I even dare watch Hoarders, my heart races. When a friend once told me that she never deletes emails and could find an email I sent her 10 years ago... I gasped. So I may sometimes... a little bit... once in awhile.. offer unsolicited advice on how to eliminate the unnecessary... but I mean well, I swear! (And a bit selfishly would like to walk into your house without having a panic attack.)

Which brings me to this unsolicited blog series on how to live more simply. I am going to give you a tip per day (not that I will post every single say, I am not that organized) with a very VERY simple tip to eliminate something from your life that you just don't need. I will also offer "Next Steps" for those people want ideas on how go a step further.

But, please just make a promise to yourself that you will try to do at least the 30 easiest ideas that I offer... I promise you will breathe easier in the end.

With out further ado...

Live Simply Step #1

Eliminate some digital clutter. A simple practice is to set a limit of emails on your inbox. (Mine is 30 emails.) And then make sure you delete, delete, delete to stay within your limit. One helpful tool is to use that handy "Unsubscribe" button at the bottom of all emails. I went through yesterday and unsubscribed from 10 mass emails.

Are you wiling to go further? Delete yourself from at least 1 social media source. I picked Twitter. Honestly, since Instagram, I'd rather stay connected to people via their amazing photos.

Even more brave? Cut down your RSS Reader. I cut my back by 25%- there were simply some blogs that do not relate to me at all anymore.

Ok, who is going to follow along? And what did you do today to start? Set limit on inbox, opt out of one social media source or cut back Reader?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BlogHer... Here I come!

That is it. I am packed. I head out in approximately 12 hours to the world’s largest conference for women in social media... and it just happens to be a little road trip with some pretty kick as friends as well! It is quite the event which brings thousands of women together to learn, discuss, inspire and connect with each other. We will be able to here keynote speeches from Katie Couric, Martha Stewart... even President Obama will be addressing us via satellite.

Did I mention it is also in NYC? I always love a good trip to NYC. There is so much to do and see and adventures to be had.

But I am a sad excuse for a blogger... a BlogHer...

I did not engage in any of the pre-conference hysteria. No Facebook groups for me... no special Twitter hashtags... no endless hours of researching blogs... about blogs... about what to blog about Blogher.

Until one of my tripmates "invited" me to just take a peek at the Facebook group... just to get a gander at the "bat shit craziness".

Oh. My. God.

And, from what I have gathered, this is what I am apparently doing wrong thus far:

1. I am not bringing a concealed weapon to protect myself from the crime ridden streets of NYC.
2. I did not get a pedicure, manicure, hair cut/style/color/extensions, wax...
3. I did not buy a fanny pack.
4. I have not educated myself about nor purchased a Jesus toaster.
5. I have not purchased and packed my suitcase with at least 12 pairs of shoes for the 3 day conference.
6. I have not created a filing system, system of envelopes, system of labels... for... well, I do not even know what the hell those are to be created for.
7. I have not begged for, signed up for, berated people for invitations to parties. What parties? I have no freaking idea... but apparently there are an ass ton and everybody who is anybody gets invited to them (which is clearly not moi.)
8. I have not created and scheduled posts for every single day that I will be away (and thankfully I do not post that much anyway, so nobody will miss me.)
9. I did not buy a whole new wardrobe.
10. I did not get a special shot to fight off the cooties that I will apparently catch from walking the streets of NYC in my flip flops.
11. I did not plan NEARLY well enough...

BUT, this is what I am going to do:

1. Hang out with some of the most amazing, creative, intelligent women I know.
2. Hopefully meet some of the most amazing, creative, intelligent women that I have been stalking for years now.
3. Attend a session or two and learn a thing or two about something or other.
4. Hula hoop in Central Park.
5. Cheer on my crazy friends when they wake up for a 6am 5K!
6. Avoid any and all lady drama. No cattiness, no competition (let's be honest here... who am I competing against?), no mean girls allowed.
7. I am looking for the closest place to serve me a cold bottle of craft beer while all the other fancy ladies are drinking from their wine glasses or fruity umbrella drinks.
8. Enjoy every moment whether it be people watching, sleeping in a bed without a 3-year-olds foot in my rib, learning something new, exploring the city... there is so much for me to experience in the next few days... I really can't wait!

I will report back if I make it through the muggings, gangrene, eye gouging and hair spray clouds!

(Oh, and if you want to come introduce yourself... I am a bit hard to miss with the telltale marks on my right arm, see photo above!)